Why 2,000-year-old Roman concrete is stronger than our own

July 10, 2017 by  
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The exact formula for Roman concrete has been lost. This is unfortunate, as many 2,000-year-old Roman concrete piers and breakwaters structures are even stronger today than they were when they were built millennia ago, while our modern marine concrete structures break down in decades. An international team of researchers recently discovered that seawater has a role to play in the ancient material’s surprising longevity. Concrete in ancient Rome was comprised of volcanic ash, lime, and seawater, mixed with chunks of volcanic rock. A team led by University of Utah geologist Marie Jackson discovered it’s seawater that could help the building material last – the substance fosters the growth of interlocking minerals that provide cohesion to the concrete. Related: Family accidentally discovers “extraordinarily well-preserved” Roman villa in England Back between 2002 and 2009 Jackson and colleagues found the rare mineral aluminous tobermorite, or Al-tobermorite, in Roman harbor concrete gathered by the ROMACONS project. The mineral is incredibly difficult to make in a laboratory, requiring high temperatures. Going back to those drill cores to scrutinize them with new methods for this research, Jackson found the mineral again along with a related one, phillipsite, in pumice particles and pores. The team knew something had to encourage those minerals to grow in low temperatures after the concrete hardened, and it turns out seawater washing over those piers and breakwaters could be the key. Jackson said in a statement, “We’re looking at a system that thrives in open chemical exchange with seawater…No one has produced tobermorite at 20 degrees Celsius. Oh – except the Romans!” Jackson has never come across the Roman recipe for concrete in an extensive search of old texts. But she’s working with geological engineer Tom Adams on a replacement recipe. The rocks the Romans used aren’t common throughout the world, so they’ll have to make substitutions. And if they’re successful, Roman concrete probably won’t start popping up everywhere, but could be perfect for certain projects like a proposed tidal lagoon for tidal power in the United Kingdom. Jackson is the lead author on a study published on July 3 in American Mineralogist . She was joined by researchers at institutions in China, Italy, Washington, and California. Via The University of Utah Images via J.P. Oleson and Marie Jackson

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Why 2,000-year-old Roman concrete is stronger than our own

13-year-old Ohio girl taps traffic to generate renewable energy

July 10, 2017 by  
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We may be one step closer to tackling our energy crisis if this 8th grader has anything to say about it. 13-year-old Laalitya Acharya from Ohio came up with TraffEnerate, an invention that uses vehicular traffic to generate clean power . She’s a finalist in the 2017 Young Scientist Challenge , and stands to win $25,000. Acharya started researching cheap, easily renewable resources of energy, and came across a device she calls a piezo. She explains when stress is applied to a piezo, it generates electricity . She wanted to make it easy to utilize piezos, so she designed TraffEnerate to obtain power when cars drive over the devices. Her prototype incorporates 11 piezo sensors and a 3D-printed block so stress will be applied to all 11 piezos even if a car just barely passes over the corner of the prototype. Related: 13-year-old Maanasa Mendu invents groundbreaking clean energy device that costs just $5 Acharya also designed a reciprocating motion machine to test the prototype. Her robot consistently applied stress to the invention, seen in an oscilloscope reading. She hopes to implement TraffEnerate in the busiest intersections of her hometown of Mason, Ohio . Acharya said on the challenge website, “I wanted to change the world, that simple. On my family’s yearly trip to India, I saw children who have no power in their homes, huddling near dangerous fires. I wanted to change their position in life, to make it better by creating clean energy and electricity.” The 2017 Young Scientist Challenge is put on by Discovery Education and 3M . There are 10 finalists for this year’s challenge, with innovative projects such as a way to detect lead in water, treating Alzheimer’s with plant components, and cleaning up oil spills with pomegranate husks and orange peels. A winner will be chosen in October. + Young Scientist Lab Via Young Scientist Challenge and Rajesh Acharya Images via screenshot

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13-year-old Ohio girl taps traffic to generate renewable energy

Drone video shows damaged Palmyra after ISIS occupation

March 30, 2016 by  
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Now that ISIS has been pushed out of Palmyra , archaeologists are starting to assess the damage done to the UNESCO World Heritage Site . Many expressed relief that more damage wasn’t perpetrated, yet there were still significant losses: both the Temple of Bel and the Temple of Baalshamin were blown up . There are some landmarks, such as the Roman amphitheater, that remain intact, although worse for the wear. Read the rest of Drone video shows damaged Palmyra after ISIS occupation

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Drone video shows damaged Palmyra after ISIS occupation

Archeologists dig up what could be the largest human-carved stone block ever

December 5, 2014 by  
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It’s one thing to use a bunch of heavy, petroleum-fueled equipment to make a massive structure – but doing it by hand, the old fashioned way, is truly a feat. And archeologists recently discovered a grand example, in what could be the largest single stone block every created by the human hand. German archeologists recently discovered a 2,000-year-old stone dating back to the Roman Empire in a quarry in Baalbek, Lebanon . At 64 feet long by almost 20 feet wide, the new stone weighs in at a massive 1,650 tons. It was found next to some equally hefty neighbors that were previously discovered; the 1,000-ton Hajjar el-Hibla , or Stone of the Pregnant Woman, and another unnamed stone weighing in at 1,240 tons. Read the rest of Archeologists dig up what could be the largest human-carved stone block ever Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: archeologists , archeology , baalbek , german , Hajjar el-Hibla , lebanon , massive , old , Romans , stone

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Archeologists dig up what could be the largest human-carved stone block ever

1800-Year-Old Chedworth Roman Villa Wins 2013 RIBA Architecture Award

June 20, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of 1800-Year-Old Chedworth Roman Villa Wins 2013 RIBA Architecture Award Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Chedworth , Chedworth Roman Villa , England , English Hertage and Cotswold District Council , National Trust , preservation , RIBA , roman , ruins        

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1800-Year-Old Chedworth Roman Villa Wins 2013 RIBA Architecture Award

Bacteria Can Build Better Roads for Our Peak Oil Years

October 31, 2010 by  
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Local jurisdictions in Red state America, increasingly unable to agree to taxes to jointly afford repaving at peak oil prices are simply letting roads decline – in the same way as after the fall of the Roman Empire, in the dark ages there, many roads in Europe returned to mud tracks. But an innovative new oil-free way of surfacing roads could be on the way to save us from peak oil

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Bacteria Can Build Better Roads for Our Peak Oil Years

Aurora Borealis: Nature’s Holiday Light Display (Slideshow)

December 29, 2009 by  
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Image credit: nick_russill /Flickr Named after Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn, and Boreas , Greek for “northern wind,” the aurora borealis is more commonly known as the “northern lights.” “Polar lights,” however, is a more accurate name, as they occur in both the northern and southern hemispheres, but intensify with increasing proximity to the magnetic poles. There is a lot more to this seemingly magical phenomena than pretty lights

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Aurora Borealis: Nature’s Holiday Light Display (Slideshow)

Solar Industry Says End Fossil Fuel Subsidies And Expect A Solar Boom

December 29, 2009 by  
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Photo via Flickr A report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) found that power from the sun could generate 15 percent of America’s power in the next decade, but only if Washington levels the playing field on subsidies. The fossil fuel industry, led by oil and coal, received $72 billion in total federal subsidies from 2002 to 2008, but earlier this year President Obama called for those subsidies to end…. Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Solar Industry Says End Fossil Fuel Subsidies And Expect A Solar Boom

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